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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   April 2008

Keep Business Booming

Brokers who focus on three primary steps can thrive in today’s mortgage market

The mortgage business is not for the weak-in-the-knees or for the underskilled. It takes more than a positive attitude to thrive today. A great attitude will not compensate for a lack of skills or a lack of product knowledge.

In the recent boom, many loan originators never had to prospect for business. Instead, loans found them. Now, though, they have to find the loans themselves.

Getting business is one thing; getting qualified business is quite another. Today’s prospects must be able to verify their income, have good credit, have a downpayment and actually repay the loan.

Despite the downturn in the market, I believe there are many opportunities for loan originators. In my opinion, we are in the midst of a great buyer's market and one of the best investor markets in years. We also still have favorable interest rates, good loan programs for first-time buyers, commercial loan opportunities, a huge market for reverse mortgages and adjusting rates on ARMs.

I don’t think that business is bad, but I do think that some people are just bad at being in business. It may be time to reinvent your marketing approach or your mental approach to the business. There is a difference between being in the loan business 10 years and redoing your first year 10 times.

To keep the momentum going -- or to get it restarted -- brokers must focus on the “pockets of opportunities” that are presenting themselves. It’s time to work smarter than ever before, not just harder.

Here are three steps you can implement immediately:

1. Make quality contacts: If your contacts and prospecting haven’t increased at least as much as your business has decreased, your personal recession will continue. This is no time to keep yourself a secret. Now is the time for self-promotion. You don’t have to promote your product -- everyone wants money. Today, you have to go through many more suspects to find the right prospect.

If you are making more contacts and not getting better results, you are simply speeding up your rate of failure. You must be willing to wake up, get up, dress up and show up like never before. Most of your success will be related to the number of new people you meet and talk to every day.

2. Build better relationships: This is the time to focus on building quality referral partners. Start chasing relationships instead of transactions. If you create a strong referral team and co-prospect together, you could see your database of prospects grow exponentially. Build strong business relationships with Realtors, insurance agents, financial planners and accountants. Most loan originators who constantly struggle for business find themselves going after one transaction at a time. Chasing the right relationships could actually become a “transaction multiplier.”

3. Balance your time and marketing efforts: Spend more time using your strengths. Life is too short to perfect your weaknesses. Find out what you are really good at and create your marketing strategy around that. Devote a percentage of your time working on pre-application marketing, locating the right prospects, and a percentage on pre-close marketing, activities completed between application and closing. Then spend time on post-close marketing.

And don’t forget to reach out to your past clients. If you don’t, someone else will.

Block time every day in all three areas. Spend more time on fewer things. Don’t dilute your efforts by spreading yourself too thin; you’ll risk not achieving anything at all.

The major determining factor on how your business will turn out is your belief system. Opportunities are everywhere; it’s resolve that is a rare commodity today. You must believe it first. Your actions will follow.


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